Slash revealed in his 2007 New York Times Bestselling memoirs Slash that Axl Rose and David Bowie once came to blows over a girl. Not just any girl but Erin Everly, the daughter of Don Everly of The Everly Brothers. It was a rock ‘n’ roll soap opera episode we just had to show you.
David Bowie may not necessarily be the first person you think of when you think rock lothario. But, to put it mildly, if you were to write of The Thin White Duke then the chances are he’d be off with your girlfriend quicker than a fat drunk guy and a free kebab. The legendary Bowie became infamous for pinching the girlfriends of his contemporaries and often found himself on the end of an ear-bashing from one star or another upset that their girl was keeping their eyes on Bowie.
It seems the same thing happened to eighties and nineties rock heartthrob Axl Rose. In 1989 Slash had invited his longtime friend David Bowie to come to see him and his band in a small, but legendary, heavy metal bar called The Cathouse. Bowie, had known Slash and his mother Ola Hudson for a very long time, having had the latter design his clothes and costumes since 1975. Slash even claims he once walked in on Hudson and Bowie in the nude… Underestimate Bowie at your peril.
Guns ‘N’ Roses in 1989 were in the middle of the deepening road of fame and were warming up for The Rolling Stones at their favourite aunt The Cathouse. With Bowie and Slash’s mother Hudson in attendance, sitting in the front row no less, when Axl started to throw some nasty insults at him. Bowie stood up and left mid-way through Guns’ set. Ola didn’t understand any of it until Slash told her later that Axl was angry at Bowie for allegedly hitting on his girlfriend Erin Everly.
Prior to the gig though there was a shoot for the Guns ‘N’ Roses video ‘It’s So Easy’ (which only saw the light of day last year) which Bowie had rocked up to very drunk. The video featured Everly in leather bondage gear, handcuffs, with a ball-gag in her mouth. According to the owner of The Cathouse Rachtman, when Axl caught wind of Bowie sizing up Everly, he lost it, and the two threw punches, culminating in Axl chasing Bowie screaming “I’m gonna kill you, TIN MAN.”
As Axl and the band had their shows with The Rolling Stones, Rose ran into Mick Jagger (who himself had fallen victim to the charms of Bowie) alongside Eric Clapton who had heard about the skirmish and were interested to hear of any blow landed on Bowie’s beautiful bonce.
“I was out doing a soundcheck one day when we were opening for the Rolling Stones, and Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton cornered me. I’m sittin’ on this amp and all of a sudden they’re both right there in front of me. And Jagger doesn’t really talk a lot, right? He’s just real serious about everything, and all of a sudden he’s like (adopts exaggerated Dick Van Dyke-style Cockney), “So you got in a fight with Bowie, didja?” So I told him the story real quick, and he and Clapton are going off about Bowie in their own little world, talking about things from years ago. They were saying things like when Bowie gets drunk, he turns into the “Devil from Bromley” (Bowie’s family moved to the London Borough of Bromley when he was a teenager). I mean, I’m not even in this conversation. I’m just sittin’ there. Listening to ‘em bitch like crazy about Bowie. It was funny.”
Axl and Bowie did eventually make up, hence the image at the top of this article, as they agreed to move on and one assumes Bowie find his next girl and leave Axl’s