Keith Richards started his musical career in 1960 and two years later helped to form The Rolling Stones, band that became one of the most successful and influential of all time. The musician was a fundamental part of the evolution of Rock and Roll music, especially in the 60s and had the chance to see up close during the following decades more groups that would change the course of the music.
Known for being a very sincere person, Richards talked over the years about many other bands, always giving his real opinion. One of the groups that he had talked about was Guns N’ Roses, that was one of the biggest groups that appeared in the 80s and caused a huge impact in the 90s.
What is Keith Richards’ opinion on Guns N’ Roses
Guns N’ Roses was formed in Los Angeles, California in 1985, when the Rolling Stones were already around for 23 years. Two years later the band released “Appetite for Destruction” (1987), their debut album that became one of the best-selling of all time, with an estimated amount of more than 30 million copies sold.
With the success of that first album, the band became one of the highlights of music in 1987, so their were the main subject in interviews with other rock stars around that time. Rolling Stone magazine asked Keith Richards about them in 1988 and asked him if he liked the group. He replied, saying:
“Not much. I admire the fact that they’ve made it despite certain resistance from the radio biz. I admire their guts. But too much posing. Their look – it’s like there’s one out of this band. One looks like Jimmy, one looks like Ronnie.
Keith Richards said:
“Too much copycat, too much posing for me. I haven’t listened to a whole album to be able to talk about the music. I’m a very hard taskmaster. I know that everybody’s gonna say, ‘Oh, he’s putting everybody down,’” Keith Richards said.
One year later, in 1989, Guns N’ Roses was The Rolling Stones opening act during their “Steel Wheels” tour. They shared the bill with Living Colour on four dates at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin even joined The Rolling Stones on stage in Atlantic City, NJ in 1989. They performed the song “Salt Of The Earth”, from the Stones 1968 album “Beggars Banquet”.
Keith Richards was not happy when Axl Rose was late one night
Even though Keith Richards is known as a Rock star who liked to party, he was always committed to the band and the concerts. But the Guns N’ Roses vocalist Axl Rose was never on stage at the right time for the band’s concerts. Especially in the 90s, many times showing up hours later to perform. So when the singer was expected to perform with the Stones one night and showed up late, Richards was not very happy. So he tried to give him a lesson. It was the ex-Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum who recalled that story in an interview with RT Sound Cloud in 2021.
“Axl showed up late to sit in with The Stones, I believe it was at the Coliseum or something. He was a little bit late, and Keith Richards walks up to him and says, ‘I slept on a chandelier last night, and I’m here on time. What’s your excuse? If you’re going to be in a rock ‘n’ roll band, the least you can do is get here by 9 PM. You know what I mean?'”
Guns N’ Roses covered the Stones classic song “Sympathy For The Devil” in 1994. The cover was made for Neil Jordan’s movie “Interview With The Vampire”. Their version reached number 55 on the Billboard Hot 100 at the time.
The funny story of when Slash had the chance to meet Keith Richards
The Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash was born in London, England in the early 60s. He lived in the country until he was 5, when he moved with his mother to Los Angeles. Even though he went to the United States still very young, he continued to love the British groups, especially the Rolling Stones. He had the chance to meet Keith Richards face-to-face still in the early days of the Hard Rock band. The meeting was arranged by the also Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.
Slash recalled that story in an interview Revolver Magazine back in 2021 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage). “(Laughs) The first time I ever really personally met Keith, he was great. But he pulled a f*cking switchblade on me.”
“Ronnie Wood introduced us and took me to Keith’s hotel room. Keith sort of motioned me over. He put not a swtichblade, a butterfly knife and flash it around. I was like ‘Cool’. I didn’t really know how I was supposed to react to. But it was a funny. Sort of auspicious kind of first meeting,” Slash said.
Slash said many times over the years that the Stones are one of his favorite bands. He loves especially the era of the band that Mick Taylor on guitar. “The period that Mick Taylor was in the band. As far as lead guitar was concerned, that was my favorite Stones period,” he told Esquire magazine back in 2014.
Richards once told Slash that he should love Guns N’ Roses and should not leave the band
In an interview with Mitch Lafon and Michael Brandvold (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) in 2013, the ex-Guns N’ Roses manager Alan Niven said that Keith Richards once took Slash to dinner. During the meeting told him that he should not leave the band, even though he disliked Axl Rose at the time. The Rolling Stones guitarist said that he also didn’t like Mick Jagger but he loved the Stones more and that made him be in the band.
“Keith Richards took Slash out to dinner one night and told him that he really needed to think through his relationship with Axl. That the last thing that he should do is leave Axl. Basically his pitch was ‘You should love Guns N’ Roses more than you love and respect what it means to the fans to have this front line that everybody has connected to and associates with.”
“Obviously Slash looked at Keith and said ‘You have no idea’. I mean, Keith turned around and basically said ‘You know, I dislike Jagger as much as you dislike Axl. But I love The Rolling Stones more’. Slash still said ‘You have no ideia’,” Alan Niven said.