U.P.O. guitarist Chris Weber, a former bandmate of GUNS N' ROSES singer Axl Rose from from his pre-GN'R group, HOLLYWOOD ROSE, recently spoke to Metalshrine.se about playing with Axl and his early days as a struggling musician in Los Angeles. Several excerpts from the interview follow:
Metalshrine.se: Looking back, what was Axl like back then? You read in the press how strange Axl is and was he anything like that back then?
Chris Weber: "He was really different. He thinks of himself a lot and he's very ego motivated. He has an idea of what he wants and goes out and gets it. Not a lot of time spent selflessly helping other people. I don't see him donating blood or that type of thing. He's got an idea of what he wants in life and he gets it. He was actually a friend of mine and all that stuff that has happened since clearly has changed him. Certainly the person I knew when I was friends with him wouldn't be considered all these names that people call him. I obviously got out of it at a certain point and since I parted ways with him he's changed, which is good because I remember the good sides. He was just like the coolest guy that ever walked the planet. He was the epitome of cool and the style he generated and he had an air about him that almost everybody thought was really charismatic."
Metalshrine.se: But did Tracii [Guns] play on any of those [early] demos?
Chris Weber: "Not those demos at that time! He wasn't involved in HOLLYWOOD ROSE until much later. HOLLYWOOD ROSE started out as a band called AXL. And that was me, Izzy and Axl. Then the drummer and bass player came along afterwards. Then we changed the name of the band to ROSE and then it became HOLLYWOOD ROSE. That band stayed intact with me, Axl and Izzy and then the bass player and drummer. The bass player was never part of the band. He was just part of it when we were playing live. So it was just basically us three. Three leaders and then we had these other guys plying and Johnny was consitently our drummer. Then some time after that...I mean after I left, Tracii did join the band for a short period of time but I really don't know Tracii's story. He came after I left!
Metalshrine.se: Who came up with the idea for the name of the band? I guess AXL was Axl?
Chris Weber: "Axl called the name of the band AXL and then slowly but surely he wanted to take on that name for himself. So he took that name, but I never called him Axl. He was always Bill when I was in the band. Then he reinvented himself. AXL was the original name. After maybe 2 or 3 shows, the name was changed to ROSE. Axl Rose (then Bill) had some sort of fallout with Izzy [Stradlin] and I and to continue playing as a band, Izzy said we were to change our name to ROSE, and we did. The word 'Hollywood' was added when I stumbled upon the name ROSE being used by another band. I think they were on the East Coast, maybe New York. This was towards the end. It was always the same band, except for the bass player change mid-way. The name of the band (GUNS N' ROSES) came because at one point we broke up after a show and Axl joined Tracii's band L.A. GUNS. So Axl sang with L.A. GUNS for a little while and I think he did some recordings. Then when he came back, when they merged, and this was after I left because I was in HOLLYWOOD ROSE, they just put the two names together and that´s when Tracii took the spot that I left open. Then Slash joined and then I played another show actually. I played a final show about six months after I left the band. By that time it was...you have to get an exact timeline to figure out what was what."
Read Chris Weber's entire interview with Metalshrine.se at this location.