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The True Story Of Guns N' Roses: The Last Of The Giants

From a man who was part of their inner circle.

02/12/2016 12:41 PM AEDT | Updated 07/12/2016 11:07 AM AEDT
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The front man himself.

When music journalist Mick Wall first met legendary hard rockers Guns N' Roses almost thirty years ago, he was most struck by one particularly gentle figure.

Axl Rose.

"I remember him shaking my hand and thanking me. The others were all crazy and falling all over the place. He was quiet, considered, sobre and very together," Wall told The Huffington Post Australia.

Wall was at a show in Manchester -- on one of the band's first tours -- when his love affair with Guns N' Roses first began.

I truly believe that they are the last of a dying breed. When they go, that's it. Last man out and turn off the lights.

"I saw them and it was like stumbling across neolithic man walking the earth. I thought, how did this band at this time manage to be?" Wall said.

As a writer for music magazine Kerrang!, Wall had traipsed the earth interviewing the stars of the 1980s -- from Bon Jovi and Led Zeppelin to Black Sabbath.

"At that moment in rock, I had come to the conclusion that I, too, had been born too late. I had missed the good stuff where Jimi Hendrix roamed and when Zeppelin was still the young gun," Wall said. "We still had great music, but it was safe as mother's milk."

Enter Guns N' Roses -- where everything changed.

"They were everything I wanted a rock band to be and everything that I had given up on ever seeing again," Wall said.

After years of writing from their inner circle -- with some accounts more controversial than others -- Mick Wall has penned his ultimate biography that sets out to tell the 'true story'.

"It's more of a worldly look at the band beyond all the filth and the sleaze," Wall said. "That's in there too, because that's part of the story, but I wanted to share who these people really are -- who they were then and who they are now.

"I truly believe that they are the last of a dying breed. When they go, that's it. Last man out and turn off the lights."

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Izzy Stradlin, Axl Rose, Slash and Steven Adler at Fenders Ballroom on December 21, 1986 in Long Beach, California

On who they once were

Wall describes his first backstage meeting as akin to stepping into a Rolling Stones dressing room in 1972.

"There were scarves and incense and drugs and booze and groupies. It was a once in a lifetime," Wall said.

"If you think of your ultimate fantasy rock band, you have a singer who is borderline insane, a guitarist who is half Jimi Hendrix, half Jack Daniels and an illegitimate-son guitarist. That was Guns N' Roses."

After their first meeting, he became the band's go-to-man. Frontman Axl Rose would summon him late at night to talk, drink and rant into the early hours of the morning.

"Guns N' Roses let it all hang out. They were the only band in the world at the time who didn't give a fuck."

They were the biggest band in the world -- the most fashionable, the most dangerous, the most exciting. But it blew up in their faces.

And whilst their music has gone down in history, so too have the public feuds and rivalries that have plagued them.

"They were the biggest band in the world -- the most fashionable, the most dangerous, the most exciting. But it blew up in their faces," Wall said.

"Everybody who has connected with Guns N' Roses has come out of it damaged."

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On his relationship with Axl Rose

Mick Wall is first to admit that his relationship with frontman Axl Rose has been rocky -- one that became famous when he was singled out in the band's 1991 hit, 'Get In The Ring'.

But he also believes it has been overplayed.

"My falling out with Axl is a great story," Wall said. "Up until that point, it was like a thin line between love and hate."

He is a man who has somehow made it through the fire.

But he is quick to point out that his book is not about settling scores.

"He threw my name into a song twenty years ago. For me that's irrelevant. There are absolutely no scores being settled in this," he said.

"The whole point was that they trusted me."

And when it comes to telling the frontman's story, Wall is highlighting his many sides.

"When Axl became a rockstar, he -- like the bands he listened to growing up in the 1970s -- believed that rock music was about bringing your truth and your pain to the stage," Wall said.

"That is what Axl has done with every song and with every performance he has written. Yes, he's stormed off, yes, he's taken two hours to get onto the stage. That partly comes down to his wry sense of humour but it also comes down to the fact that we're dealing with a guy with deep, deep anxiety."

"He is a man who has somehow made it through the fire. That's what the book gets into."

AFP/Getty Images
AC/DC's onstage with Axl Rose perform in Sevilla on May 10, 2016. Aussie rockers AC/DC wrote a new chapter in their 42-year career on today, launching a European tour with Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose replacing Brian Johnson as frontman. / AFP / CRISTINA QUICLER (Photo credit should read CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images)

On who they are today

After the band's surprise reunion earlier this year, featuring Rose onstage with former members Slash and Duff Mckagan, this story has a semi-happy ending.

"At least three of them are back together and are doing their best to try and repair their story," Wall said.

"This is as close to the 'Use Your Illusion ' tour (the band's third studio album) and they are phenomenal."

Guns N' Roses is touring Australia in February 2017.

"You're all going to have a lot of fun," Wall said. "Everybody in that band loves Australia -- in fact, every rock band I know loves Australia!

"They are going to make a huge splash."

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