What Happened at Guns N’ Roses First Gig in London, England (Marquee 1987)

Guns N’ Roses: Anarchy in the UK

Guns N’ Roses Central podcast guest Paul Elliott recently published an article about what went down at the first UK concert the band played in 1987. If you remember our interview with Elliott, he talked about attending the Marquee shows and spending some time with the band back in the 80’s. You can check out the article here and watch our  interview with him below. Paul Elliott was one of our favourite interviews to date. He recently also published a book about Guns N’ Roses called “The Life and Times of a Rock N’ Roll Band”.

We also chatted with Guns N’ Roses former publicist Arlett Vereecke who told us a story about Axl being pissed off about a negative review that ‘Sounds Magazine’ wrote about one of the band’s performances at the Marquee. Axl went down to the publication’s office looking for the writer of the review. Paul mentioned this hilarious story in his article as well. I’ve included a snippet of the story below.

Axl Rose was pissed off. Not for the first time, or the last, the Guns N’ Rosessinger was spoiling for a fight.

The guy he wanted to punch out was a writer for Sounds, and Axl had gone looking for him, to the Sounds office in north London, near Camden Town.

It was early afternoon on June 24, 1987. Five days earlier, Guns N’ Roses, on their first trip outside Los Angeles, had played their debut UK gig at the famous Marquee club in Soho. Playing songs from their as-yet-unreleased debut album Appetite For Destruction, it had been a great show, a hard-won victory amid a hostile atmosphere. But in the review of the gig, published in Sounds on that Wednesday, there was a comment that caused Axl to blow a fuse. The writer, Andy Ross, using his pseudonym Andy Hurt, stated that the band were good, but that their singer sounded like a hamster with its balls trapped in a door. “Squeak, squeak, squeak…”

Axl walked into the Sounds office in full rock-star regalia: leather trousers, ripped T-shirt, cowboy boots, cigarette in hand. Behind him were the other four members of the band: guitarists Slash and Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Steven Adler. Slash carried a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.

As they looked around the room, wondering who it was that Axl was about to lay into, it was Izzy Stradlin who saw me sitting at a desk in one corner. I was the one Sounds writer they knew. Three months earlier I had interviewed the band in LA for a Sounds feature. I’d also been with them a few days before at one of the apartments they’d rented in Kensington. Izzy came over to talk. The others followed. We spoke about their gig at the Marquee, and the second one on June 22. Then Axl leaned in close and said to me in a low voice: “Where’s the guy that wrote the review?”

“Andy Hurt?”

“Yeah. And he will be.”

When I told him that Andy Hurt wasn’t here, Axl just sighed and shook his head. There was an uncomfortable silence. Sounds editor Tony Stewart called me over and I explained why the band were here. “Get rid of them,” he said. I told them to come with me to the local pub. Before we left, Axl took a pen and a piece of paper and scrawled out a note for Andy Hurt. He handed it to Sounds’ secretary. It read simply: “You’re a dead man.”

It was only once inside the pub, on Camden High Street, that Axl’s mood lightened. He was aghast at one item on the pub’s food menu.